Monday, April 25, 2011


Next week marks five months that Andy has been dealing with an orbital pseudo-tumor. Not exactly the kind of anniversary you want to be celebrating.

It has been a long five months for both of us. Included in these five months are more doctors visits than I can even recall, so much uncertainty, tests, procedures, steroids, a biopsy, a whole lot of waiting and seeing, and most recently radiation. I’ve worried more in these last five months than I thought possible. I’ve been both terrified and cautiously optimistic. I’ve cried a whole lot. I will never, ever forget the way I felt when the doctor said it could be cancer. Thankfully, it was not.

Since the steroids weren’t doing their job, radiation seemed to be the best treatment option. Radiation is scary…you feel you shouldn’t have to be doing this if you don’t have cancer. But he did it, and ten treatments later he is finally done. Now the waiting begins again. Meanwhile, as a result, he has been exhausted and feeling awful. He also has a perfect red burn around his eye…picture Petey from The Little Rascals. It’s okay to laugh…he has not lost his sense of humor. I’m not sure I would have been able to keep up such a good attitude if I’d been the one going through this.

For example: a few nights ago we were sitting outside, cuddled under a blanket, enjoying a low-key evening. Out of the blue, Andy decided to list things in life that he loves. From a very long list, here are some of my favorites: warming up in the sun on the beach, eating a ripe cherry, driving a sports car on a windy road, getting back into bed in the morning, the smell of rain on warm pavement, riding a bike down a hill, and the feeling of weightlessness when you catch a wave. His list made me want to cry. Here is someone who has been struggling daily for five months, and he loves the smell of rain on pavement??? My heart aches for him. I so want him to get better.

Slowly but surely, he has been feeling improvement. His vision has gotten clearer, the pressure over his eye is lessening, and the swelling is going down. The radiation continues to work for the next several weeks, so for now, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that soon he will see the end of this long, sometimes painful, always tiresome journey.

Hopefully the next thing we’re celebrating is his complete recovery. Until then, we keep moving forward as best we can. For me, that means cooking. I’ve been trying some odds and ends lately. Shishito peppers was one of those dishes…

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Serves 4 as an appetizer

6 ounces shishito peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon white miso
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
2-3 tablespoons canola oil

Mix miso, chili garlic sauce, and lime juice together in a small bowl.

In a large sauté pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat until oil is very hot. Add the garlic, shallots and peppers at once, stirring to evenly distribute. Add in the miso mixture and toss to coat. Let the peppers sit without disturbing so they blister. Toss occasionally to ensure all sides are blistered. Serve immediately.

When I started this blog, I thought I would document all my hits AND misses. I’ve not really kept up with that, not because I don’t have misses (you should have tasted the cake I made the other day!), but mostly because I want this to be a place that showcases the good stuff. Also, it’s a whole lot of work to take photos of a dish I love, let alone one I’m less than thrilled with.

With these peppers, I’m on the fence. They are gorgeous and they do have a nice flavor. I can definitely see the appeal, but I guess I wouldn’t call myself their number one fan. Maybe I overdid it by eating the entire plate (they must not have been too bad, huh?). In moderation, I would happily scarf down a few prior to a meal. The peppers that got very blistered were much tastier than the others, so perhaps I should have let them blister more. I did love the overall taste of the dish, with some spice from the chili garlic sauce and a hint of spice from the peppers themselves. These are not knock-your-socks-off spicy peppers, but have just a subtle bite. Every once in a while, you will find one that hits the back of your throat and makes you cough, which is kind of fun. Overall, I don’t see myself making these weekly, but would not turn them away if they were put in front of me.

It’s very quiet in the house this morning…Andy went in to work and hopes to stay the whole day. He has been home so much lately and I have to admit that I liked it, even though the reason is less than optimal and he just sleeps all day. Of course I want nothing more than for him to be feeling one hundred percent, which means he’ll be gone all day, but I can still miss our days together, can’t I? I’ll just take this opportunity to pout a little… 


  1. You and Andy are in my thoughts. My husband is definitely the strong half of this couple, and I'd have a hard time seeing him sick or hurt. Please don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything you need.

  2. I love Andy's list of his favorite things. I hope he has a speedy recovery! I like Shishito peppers so much I once bought the plant, thinking I could raise my own. Then it occured to me that I would want to eat more than 3-5 a month. LOL

  3. Another beautiful post! Photos and words! His list of favorite things is perfect! Got to love that! It's great you have each other and are both keeping strong, it's so important. The peppers are beautiful even if you weren't crazy about them... :)

  4. You've been amazing throughout the entire ordeal, and I know I'm the luckiest man ever. I thought you were going to segue from my medical issues to your recipe by saying: 'His eye is very red from the radiation treatment...speaking of blistered, here are some peppers I made...". Andy

  5. Hope everything goes well. Think positive and have strength in life. I know the last year I've met so many doctors too.
    Wishing all the best and leave back all the bad memories.

  6. Such a beautiful post! Andy will get better very soon! I like his list of favorite things and your recipe rocks. I love peppers and I love spicy food. I will make these sometime soon!

  7. Lovely post. Andy sounds like he has the right attitude about things :) Well done on making a whole day at work too!

    Beautiful peppers. Sorry the taste doesn't knock your socks off. I bet you can find a variation that does tho!

  8. I'm praying for both you and Andy. Andy's strength and sense of humor is remarkable but please don't forget the strength you've been showing too. Sending you lots of love.

  9. Thanks for all musings and wonderful recipes you post. You and Andy will be in our prayers

  10. These peppers look beautiful! You guys will be in my prayers.

  11. It's been a really tough five months. Can't wait till our son-in-law is feeling 100%.
    We love you,
    Mom & Dad

  12. These remind me of sauteed padron peppers, which are definitely on my list of things in life that I love. You and Andy are in my thoughts. Take care!

  13. I hope Andy feels better soon and has a complete recovery. Being on my second round of cancer treatment now, I have some idea of the challenges you guys are facing. You will be in my prayers.

  14. Karen, this is a very touching post, you are one strong and dynamite person to be around Andy. And I love his sense of humour! I hope that Andy's recovery now will be a speedy one, will think of both of you in my prayers.
    I have not seen Shishito Peppers before, the way you made them looks really good! Would love to try this! Have a lovely day, Karen!

  15. Hang in there! Lots of comfort food is in order for you two! May he continue to grow stronger each day!

  16. You and Andy will be in my prayers and hope everything goes well. Your shishito is cooked JUST RIGHT! I miss eating them... Take good care.

  17. My heart goes out to you Karen; what you are living is so difficult. I am so happy you can still find the courage to blog. You are both strong and hopefullly the good times are just around the corner.
    I have never heard of shishito peppers, but they looks really tasty.
    Sending good vibes your way.

  18. Andy really is a wonderful guy, and you are a wonderful niece. I'm glad the worst is over.
    Love you both,
    Patty & Hale

  19. My heart goes out to you and Andy, Karen. What an ordeal and I'm hoping you will be celebrating his 5 (+++) YEARS of full recovery starting ASAP! You're in my thoughts. And his list was amazing...makes you realize what we take for granted!

  20. This post made me tear up. His list is great. I think it's very important when little things mean so much. Sometimes it's all we have to keep us going. Hang in there :)

  21. I'm not even thinking of the peppers anymore! I wish all good things for you and Andy. (I have worked for the past 26 years in ophthalmology.) Please feel free to lean on me for any kind of help. Hang in there you guys! : )

  22. I am so happy the worst seems to be over for both of you. And I'm happy Andy has kept his sense of humor throughout this ordeal. I think that has helped you immensely. You are both so good for each other. Love you guys!


  23. Karen, I'm so happy to hear that your husband has been showing signs of improvement. I'm keeping you both in my thoughts and hoping his health returns soon. You have been so strong and I know will continue to be. Wishing the best for you both!

  24. Beautifully said Karen!! You are my favorite chef next to Giada, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batali & many more! Glad to hear Andy is feeling somewhat better. I hope to see you both soon! Luv the peppers. Sending ((hugs)) xoxo --Maria